10 Simple Steps to Become a Content Writer
Do you love writing? Do you often find yourself looking for opportunities to pen down your thoughts? Do your friends often take your help when they need to write? Do you hear people around you say that you have written really good stuff? Are you passionate about writing?
Now, you can take your passion to the next level and become a professional freelance writer.
Being a freelance writer means – you can choose your own subjects; you can choose your clients; you can even choose what to write, how to write, and when to write. Now, that is a dream job, a job that you have the power to create for yourself!
But how do you do that? Here are some simple steps that you can follow to become a content writer –
- Identify your strengths: If people say that you write good, there is a high chance that you will have some areas of strength as a writer. Find out what you are already good at. With each strength identified, you can identify your target market or type of writing that would best suit you as a content writer.
Note: Most content writers earn through non-fiction so I am going to cover opportunities in that area in this article.
Ask yourself if you are good at
- Describing things – you can write product/service descriptions, event experiences, customer stories
- Expressing emotions – You can write scripts for ads, emotional sales pitches
- Explaining concepts – You can write blog articles, case studies, whitepapers, books
- Generating ideas – You can be an ideal candidate for copywriting
- Presenting ideas – You can create presentations, write content for brochures and sales flyers
- Organising ideas – You can become a book writer or can create content for training
- Identify gaps and fill them: After knowing your strength, you know your options. Do you think you lack in some qualities or skills needed for your chosen opportunity? For example, if I say that I am good at expressing emotions, I may still be lacking in vocabulary that needs to be strong. I may still need to work more on understanding other people’s emotions because I don’t write for myself but for others when I am selling content. After you have identified these gaps, take up a course to fill them.
There is never too late to learn and you are never too wise to stop learning.
For learning, you can refer to books, take free online video courses, or take guidance from a professional trainer by paying. It is your choice. Whatever learning model suits you best, go for it!
- Choose a niche: Which is your favourite subject? Perhaps you want to focus on an industry? Or you may drill down on specific type of content, say blogs, product descriptions, case studies, or books. Choose your niche wisely as you may then need to stick to it for long. If you do not want to narrow down your options but want to remain open to all styles then you can choose a wider area as your speciality. For instance, writing for business can be your niche so you could be writing website articles, product descriptions, case studies, blogs, PR articles, training materials, or advertisements – all for business.
- Understand your audience and clients: After you know your strengths, filled your lacking areas, and have chosen a niche, the next step would be to identify who you can sell, who you should write for and understand them. For example, if you end up choosing product descriptions for gadgets, who would be your client? Mobile manufacturers, gadget promoting blogs, or mobile marketers. Who would be your audience? Youngsters, people working in managerial positions, people in tech sales?
What should you know about your target audience?
- What age group do they belong to?
- Where can you find them?
- What do they like?
- What do they hate?
- How educated are they?
- What is their profession?
- What is their level of comfort with language?
- Create a blog – You want to earn from writing which means you want to sell online content. Imagine you are selling a mobile but you are not carrying a mobile yourself. How will you convince your customer? Same goes with the content. If you are selling it then you are supposed to understand that it is important, and if you understand that it is important then having a place where you write your own content is mandatory. So, create a blog at least if you cannot create a website to show your skills. Your blog can become your marketing tool. There are many blogging platforms that you can use to create free blogs such as WordPress, Blogger, and Google Sites.
What to write on your blog?
- You will definitely write the blog articles
- Do not forget to introduce yourself
- If you are looking for content writing work, do create a page describing your speciality
- Give your reader a way to contact you. Add your email address at least, if you don’t want to give away your contact number, because not having a way to contact will definitely make you lose opportunities.
- Add links to your social media posts such as LinkedIn Pulse, Quora Answer, Twitter page, or Instagram profile
- Build a portfolio: If you are just starting then take a few projects from your friends and write articles for their companies. Once you have a few articles written and published, you will have a beginner’s portfolio ready for you. You can also approach companies that give opportunities to freshers and write a few articles for them to build your portfolio. You may take care of few things when building your portfolio –
- You should have at least 5 samples ready before you market
- Have samples from at least 2-3 different companies
- Have some variety in your samples which can be due to differences in audience, style, format, industry, or audience
- Market yourself: Start marketing yourself through popular blogs like WordPress and LinkedIn Pulse, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and Create your service page on them. For this, you can share blog articles, create your own ads, or write posts to seek work.
Where should you market yourself?
- On social media pages & groups
- On WhatsApp and other popular apps that you use to connect
- On Blogging platforms
- Through Emails
- When talking to people in person
- You may get a visiting card for yourself which would be a very small investment
- List your service on local business marketplaces such as Olx, Sulekha and Justdial
- Take up freelance jobs: There are many portals like Upwork, Guru, Peopleperhour, and Fivver that allow you to explore available opportunities for writing work and place bids to get work online. You will have to keep searching for new writing jobs and keep posting proposals at competitive prices. With patience you can get some real good ghostwriting work from content aggregators and companies. Try taking bulk work if you want to create a continuous stream of income for yourself. You have to patient when taking this approach as it can take time to find the company who is willing to give work to freshers on specific portals. You may have to keep bidding for 2-3 months before your get your first order.
- Develop a pitch: Create a pitch to market yourself. You may create different communication for bidding sites, social media job posts, and direct contacts through online networks like LinkedIn and Facebook. Having a great pitch can get you a great job. What should your pitch have?
- Your speciality
- Your strength as a writer and as a service provider
- What do you offer?
- How will your client be benefited?
- Why should they take services from you?
- Sell yourself: Once your pitch is ready, start selling! You can chat, send proposals, post offers, share portfolio, or inform your prospects about your writing services through messages. You have already started to market yourself and now is the time to have a one to one talk with your prospects who may show some interest in you. You will have to try your pitch and see if it works. If it doesn’t for some reason, be flexible enough to change and keep changing till you start cracking deals fast. If you are a writer, everyone can become your prospect as they may need your services for anything from writing blogs to creating stories, even writing a resume.
These are a few things that you may want to keep in mind when connecting with people–
- Be observant as you keep talking to people and never forget to mention what you do and how good you are.
- Share your blog with everyone you know whenever possible.
- When meeting or chatting with strangers, respond with your blog link when they ask what you do and always explain what you do in detail
- In every email you write, do not forget to add the link to your blog.